It was reported several times that Boris Johnson had found a way to bypass the Benn Act and avoid a Brexit extension if he did not reach a deal with the EU. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg quoted a “senior No 10 source” saying on 4 October: “The government will comply with the Benn Act, which only imposes a very specific narrow duty concerning Parliament’s letter requesting a delay.” The Times reported on 19 October that to avoid an extension Johnson would “empty chair” the next EU summit and refuse to appoint a new European Commissioner.
On 19 October Boris Johnson sent a letter to the EU requesting a delay according to the terms of the Benn Act.
The Boris Johnson government’s claim (or belief) turned out to be false. This case again illustrates the way in which political journalists uncritically quote unnamed sources.